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Breath test found 90 percent successful in diagnosing stomach cancer

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 6th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Scientists in China and Israel have developed a breath test that could help diagnose stomach cancers. The aforementioned test has a 90 percent success rate at picking up chemical signals for cancer, compared with less serious stomach problems, the study found.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It involves using sensors to detect very small particles of chemicals exhaled on breath, which are exuded from tumors. The findings involved 130 patients. The results were published in the British Journal of Cancer.

"We're already building on the success of this study with a larger-scale clinical trial," Professor Hossam Haick, lead researcher from Technion says. Haick is associated with the Israel Institute of Technology, and says that the breath test could be an alternative to an endoscopy, an invasive procedure using a long flexible tube passed into the digestive system.

Without much explanation, the endoscopy can be costly, time-consuming and unpleasant.

Around 7,000 people develop stomach cancer in the United Kingdom each year. Most are already in the advanced stages of stomach cancer when they are diagnosed.

"The nano-material breath test presents a possibility of screening for stomach cancer, which would hopefully lead to earlier diagnosis of the disease," Haick says.

Research and anecdotal reports had previously suggested dogs; usually Labrador retrievers and Portuguese water dogs can sniff out bladder, skin, lung, breast and ovarian cancers.

As dogs have a sense of smell 1,000 times more sensitive than humans, they can pick up compounds specific to cancers.

It has long been theorized that cancer-specific compounds detected by dogs could be incorporated into a new sensor which could be used to test stool and breath samples as part of screening.

"Only one in five people are able to have surgery as part of their treatment as most stomach cancers are diagnosed at stages that are too advanced for surgery," Kate Law, of Cancer Research U.K. says.

"Any test that could help diagnose stomach cancers earlier would make a difference to patients' long-term survival."

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